5 of the Most Popular Diets of 2013 – And 2 to Look for This Year

I love analyzing trends and looking at “year in review” reports and infographics. Google just unveiled their annual report looking at the top things people searched in 2013, from celebrities to beer, to animated GIFs and beyond. Pretty much anything you could think of to Google, they’ve compiled into a top 10 “most searched” list. I’m not much into celebrity gossip or famous dog breeds, but I am into food. It’s no surprise that food and drinks carved out a pretty big chunk of the trend report. From the most searched food companies to types of beer and cocktail recipes, there’s no shortage of food-related Internet “research.” One I find completely fascinating is the most-searched-for diets of the year. It’s fun to see what other people are interested in when it comes to healthy eating.

Here are the top 5 most-searched-for diets of 2013, according to Google. I think the diet on the top of the list will come as no shock to anyone interested in food, health, or nutrition, but a couple of those leading up to the No. 1 slot are real wild cards. There’s also a popular diet that seems to be missing from the list, which I find really interesting: the vegan diet. (Oops, sorry, I spoiled it!)

Read on to find what clinched the “most popular diets” top spot in 2013.

  • Most-Searched-For Diets 1 of 9
    most popular diets

    I tried to guess what would be on the most-searched diets list before reading it. I got a couple right but was blind-sided by a few others — and one in particular. Can you guess what it is? Click through to check 'em out.

  • #5: Ketogenic Diet 2 of 9

    Was there a giant serge in epilepsy this past year? I am utterly confused and shocked to see the ketogenic diet make the list of top 5 most Googled diets. Ketogenic diets are typically used to treat seizure disorders like epilepsy but concentrating a majority of calories from fat, as opposed to carbs or protein. This puts you're body into a state of ketosis (a term you may recognize from the Atkins-craze days). 


    Personally, I'm a little concerned to see such interest in this and hope people are looking for less drastic diet changes in 2014.


    More about ketogenic diets:

    Ketogenic Diet for Epilepsy

    Ketosis and Cancer


  • #4: The Master Cleanse 3 of 9

    The good, old master cleanse diet (aka the lemonade diet). Straight out of Hollywood, the Master Cleanse diet seems more like a fast in disguise; poorly hiding being some lemon juice and cayenne pepper. The Master Cleanse includes drinking lots of lemon-laden water with a touch of cayenne pepper to "boost" your metabolism and maple syrup to make it palatable.


    There are virtually no calories in this "diet," making it obvious why it results in weight loss. But as a health tool? I don't think so. Drinking more water is great, but not eating food isn't.


    This isn't a new diet by any means, but I've still seen it popping up everywhere. Just last week the front row of shelves at Whole Foods was stocked with gallon jugs of water, bottled lemon juice, tubs of maple syrup, and canisters of cayenne. 


    Master Cleanse info:

     What You Need to Know About the Master Cleanse

    The Master Cleanse Diet site

    The Lemonade Diet on WebMD

  • #3:The Mediterranean Diet 4 of 9

    I'm thoroughly pleased to see this one on the list. The Mediterranean Diet is a sound, real-food approach to healthy eating. There are no crazy gimmicks, strict restrictions, or hard and fast rules. The bottom line is to load up on veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats. The Mediterranean Diet even promotes drinking red wine. Who can argue with that? 


    The Mediterranean Diet isn't new, but quite a bit of research came out over the past year showing it's positive effect on health. I'm guessing this has a lot to do with its resurgence. The diet stems from those in the Mediterranean that live long, illness-free lives, likely owing much of that to their diet.


    Mediterranean Diet resources:

    The New Mediterranean Diet

    Why You Should Eat a Mediterranean Diet

    Mediterranean Diet for Better Health

  • #2: Juice Cleanse 5 of 9

    Juice cleanses have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, with 2013 being the year that prepackaged juice cleanses bombarded the store shelves. They're even now offered through mail-order subscriptions so fresh-pressed juice can arrive at your doorstep. I've noticed more and more people having juicers as standard kitchen staples, right alongside blenders and coffee-makers.


    Juice cleanses are meant to be short-term fasts to jump-start the detox process or weight loss. They involve, you guessed it, consuming nothing but juice for several days (typically one to three). Many commercial juice cleanses also include a bottle of cashew milk as the last drink of the day for added staying power. 


    The problem with juice cleanses is the potential lack of consuming calories, leaving you hungry, drained, and lethargic. Typically, weight lost on a juice cleanse comes back once you reintroduce solid food, but if use it as a jumping-off point for a healthier diet, it can be a good tool.


     Juicing resources:

     Is juicing for you?

    Guide to Juice Cleanses

    Juicing Dos & Don'ts

    At-Home Juicers

  • #1: The Paleo Diet 6 of 9

    To see the Paleo Diet in the #1 spot of most-searched diets of 2013 is no surprise. Unless you live under a rock, you've likely heard of the Paleo diet, or at least some form of it: primal, caveman, ancestral, etc. I unofficially credit its sudden rise in popularity to Crossfit, the hardcore, functional movement fitness craze that's sweeping the nation. Crossfit and the Paleo diet seem to go hand in hand, as that's the eating method many of those athletes subscribe to. 


    The Paleo diet focuses on eating as our ancestors did. That means skipping the processed, unrecognizable stuff and opting for real, whole foods. The emphasis is on vegetables and protein, with a balanced amount of fruit and non-grain carbs. The diet eliminates grains (not just gluten), beans and legumes, and usually dairy. People that follow the Paleo-style of eating tend to report higher energy and  less illness.



    More on the Paleo diet:

     Paleo Diet on the Rise

    6 Foods You Won't Find on the Paleo Diet

    Loren Cordain "Paleo Founder"

    Robb Wolf Paleo Expert

    Mark's Daily Apple  List of Paleo Blogs

  • Runners-Up 7 of 9

    The most popular diet list goes up to 10, but the second five are a little less specific than the top five contenders. They include the Fruitarian diet (exactly what it sounds like — eating only fruit) and the Pescatarian diet, which is typically defined as a vegetarian diet that includes fish. The other three spots go to the Omnivore diet (eating plants and animals), the Flexitarian diet (not following hard and fast rules 100% of the time), and the Okinawa diet (eating like the Japanese that often live past 100 years old).

  • DASH Diet 8 of 9

    It's no secret that diets tend to be "fads." In other words, what's popular one year isn't even on the radar the next. So what's going to top the "most popular diet" list in 2014? While that remains to be seen, I have a feeling it's not going to be anything mind-blowing or groundbreaking. One diet to look out for this coming year isn't new at all. It's the DASH diet - the diet designed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to help lower blood pressure.


    The US News & World Report predicts this to be the best diet of 2014 (and other years in the past as well) due to its balanced nature, ease of following, and ability to stick with it. Incidentally, the same report places the Paleo diet last on the list.

  • TLC Diet 9 of 9

    Another one to keep your eye for it in 2014: the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, aka the TLC diet. While it hardly sounds exciting, this diet designed to lower cholesterol does just that. Following this diet can help decrease cardiovascular risks through small, sustainable changes. 


    What diets do you think we'll see on the most-searched for list this year?

I wonder what 2014 will bring …

Photo credits: Heather Neal

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